We are quite a bit different than many internet service providers: we only keep what we need to keep kicking ass, we charge enough to not be bothered with selling your information and we are proactive about countering attacks directed at or originating from our network. We collect identifying information about your machine, what time it logged in and from where to help you track your usage.
We track how much you have transferred over a specific period of time to help us identify when we need to make improvements so that our service continues to Rock-Your-World. We will use this information ourselves at our discretion to prevent you from having problems, reach you if you are having problems, to track you if you are causing problems, but only with respect to service quality.
You can not opt out of this information sharing, we have to collect it, otherwise our service would suck, just like everyone else, and that just isn’t acceptable to us. We collect your email address so you have a way to recover your password if you get locked out, we collect your phone number so we can reach you by phone if we need to contact you in a speedy manner, and we collect your mailing address so we have yet a 3rd way to contact you if something is wrong and if you request a hard copy of your statement. The only time we care whether you use accurate records or not is for the material we submit to our credit card processor, if its not accurate it wont work and then we cant collect money from you and you cant have access to the best internet ever.
If you really want maximum privacy, we have no problem with you using pre-pay coupons or temporary accounts from vendors around town (coming soon!) or just buying a Pre-Paid Visa card at Safeway, and signing up as Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, with an email address of firstname.lastname@example.org, go for it, but know that we’ll never find you, even if you want us to… And no, we won’t reset your password for you, even for beer.
It is technically possible for us to violate your privacy in three ways: (1) selling it to the highest bidder, and (2) releasing it to the authorities, or (3) getting hacked by some criminal on the internet. We do our best to prevent each of those as follows.
(1) On the internet you are either the customer or you are the product. We charge you good money and you are our customers, not a product, we are not selling your information.
(2) We will not release your information to anyone outside of law enforcement or by court order, and even then not without them issuing and presenting a court order (e.g. search warrant) for the information, and we will have it validated and verified by an attorney. We won’t piss ourselves in fear when homeland security calls and tells us to turn over everything, because that isn’t freedom, and its not what this country is about. The only exception to this is if we believe lives may be at risk; if we are able to save someone’s life, we will. That said, with the information we collect, we don’t have even the foggiest clue how that could ever happen, but we figured we’d better reserve the right, just to stay one step ahead of Murphy’s law.
(3) The Internet is a brutal and dangerous place, our systems are hit a few hundred thousand times per day by people probing and looking for weaknesses. Everyone else’s are too, but most people don’t do much to stop it, or know it is happening, because they aren’t quite as crabby as our network admin. We follow the industry best practices to protect your information, including but not limited to using encryption on all administrative connections, secure keyed authentication, SSL certificates on all of our websites, firewall rules to block many intrusion attempts, logging of offsite attack attempts and a blacklist that averages about 5,000 sites. We watch the system like hawks, and we respond attacks. On your behalf, we have called the FBI enough times that they recognize our network admin on the phone, homeland security once, and network admins in other countries to tell them to cease and desist, or we’d get on a plane and “adjust” how they felt about hacking. If information exists it can be stolen, but we do what we can to keep jerks from making off with your information, including just plain not having very much lying around. If you just can’t get to a site in another country, we probably have them blocked. If we get hacked, the rotten scumbags will be able to get records pertaining to when people logged in and out, and how much they transferred, and all the action shots of us kicking through walls, kicking hackers in the balls, and installing equipment they want, Merry Christmas knuckleheads. We will usually delete that data after 90 days too, because its hard to steal data when its been deleted and scrubbed, and how many action shots do you need, really?
All that said, you can certainly make mistakes and release your information to people in other ways and we are not responsible for that (see point 8 in the terms and conditions). If you sign up for a Google/Yahoo/Microsoft account, they’re tracking and selling everything you do. If you log onto Facebook, guess, what, its free, and you are on sale. Did you rate something on Amazon? Thanks, sucker! If you really want to be angry about this stuff (and you should be) check out the wikipedia page https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_privacy as a starting point, and just keep going. Call congress, call the president, call your pastor, yell and make a mess because this is a mess already and it needs cleaning. You can use various “privacy” tunnels, but those are only a court order away from being a violation too, and most of them are just scams anyway. Its a scary new world, don’t say we didn’t warn you.